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How to Get a Job with a Criminal Record

Whether you were only fined, given probation, or just got out of jail, figuring out how to get a job with a criminal record can be difficult.

Though it's changing slowly, society has a tendency to look down on those with troubled pasts. But getting over this obstacle isn't impossible. Like most problems, the trick to solving this one lies with how passionate you are about achieving your goal.

So if you're struggling to find work due to your criminal history, consider taking the following steps.

1) Expunge Your Criminal Record

Most states have expungement laws that allow ex-convicts to remove their past blemishes from their records. The type and extent of offenses that can be expunged vary from state to state. Be sure to check your local laws to see if your prior convictions qualify for removal. Expungement is an important first step because under most state laws it allows you to legally tell employers you were never convicted of a crime.

2) Look the Part, Be the Part

Even those who don't have a criminal history will find it tough to get a job looking like a slob. But beyond remembering to suit up for an interview, successfully finding work also means an attitude change. For instance, if you wanted to become a stock broker, picking up a new haircut and suit isn't enough. You need to immerse yourself in the career and learn its every facet.

3) Get a Certification or a College Degree

Despite the recent uproar against the value of education, employers still value applicants that have it over ones that don't. College degrees and certifications aren't required for every job, but they don't hurt. So try to get one as you continue your job hunt.

4) Turn Looking for a Job into a Job

Don't confuse this with meaning you should become a headhunter. While it's a good gig, this step means your employment search should take up a full work day. Start at 9 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. or later, but don't go overboard. There's no overtime pay here.

5) Stay Hopeful

Getting a job is a game of odds. Figuring out how to get a job with a criminal record is no different. Stay positive and remember: if you play enough you'll eventually win.

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